Still, the program has grown since it was first launched in December 2018, with sales approaching $1.34 million, Owen Parker, the cannabidiol boardâs program manager, said during this monthâs meeting.
On Nov. 30, a day before medical marijuana went on sale for the first time in Iowa, about 650 patients were certified for the program.
Regulatory board members and Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds have indicated their hesitancy to further expand the program â with the governor vetoing a bill earlier this year that would have done that, but that she said went too far.
That stance is harmful to patients, said state Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, especially to those who take opioids.
âIf we had a workable program, they could be taking safer medicines made from cannabis,â Bolkcom said.
Iowa Relief last year was awarded a state contract to grow cannabis and manufacture products using its oil. Under the contract, it must sell its products at five-state approved dispensaries in Davenport, Waterloo, Windsor Heights, Council Bluffs and Sioux City.
Iowa Relief officially began âoperations in cultivationâ of its cannabis plants May 23, according to the board presentation. A little more than two months later, on July 31, officials began âoperations in manufacturingâ and the first product samples were sent to the lab.
In its application to the state, Iowa Relief proposed four products for the market: liquid, tincture, capsule and cream.
Officials announced at the board meeting earlier this month they plan to release a topical under the Botanist line sometime in September. They did not specify when they plan to release others.
MedPharm Iowa, a subsidiary of Kemin Industries, was the first medical cannabis manufacturer awarded a license in Iowa under the stateâs expanded program, passed in a 2017 law signed by then-Gov. Terry Branstad.
Earlier this week, MedPharm General Manager Lucas Nelson announced the company will release a line of vaporizer products starting this week, meant for patients seeking a quick onset of the medication or who otherwise canât take medication orally.
âYou had people with absolute splitting pain that can be brought on in seconds. There wasnât anything to deal with thatâ available in the program, Nelson said.
The first vaporizer â available in both a 250 milligram disposable and a 500 milligram cartridge â will be offered in a CBD-forward formulation starting Thursday. A THC-forward formulation will be released later this year, Nelson said.